Justin Morneau Trade: Former MVP Joins Pirates

The Justin Morneau trade is official: The veteran Minnesota Twins first baseman has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In return for the first baseman/designated hitter, the Twins will receive outfielder Alex Presley or a player (or cash) to be named later. The Pirates appear to be loading up for the stretch run; they acquired Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the New York Mets earlier this week. Entering today’s action, Pittsburgh and St. Louis are tied for first in the National League Central Division. Ironically, the Mets traded Byrd on the afternoon before the Marlon Byrd t-shirt giveaway that night at Citi Field.

A native of British Columbia, Morneau made his MLB debut with the Twins in 2003. He is a lifetime.278 hitter with 1,318 hits, 860 RBI, and 221 home runs. The former 2006 American League MVP, Morneau is in the final year of a contract that pays him $14 million for 2013.

In 2010 and 2101, he was plague by concussion issues and other injuries. In his MVP year, however, Morneau finished with a.321 batting mark with 130 RBI and 34 home runs.

ESPN reports that “The 32-year-old Morneau hit.259 with 17 homers and 74 RBI this season for Minnesota and is finishing off a red-hot month in which he smacked nine home runs… While his numbers have tailed off the last three years, his power should play well at PNC Park rather than cavernous Target Field. It’s just 320 feet from home plate to the right field wall at PNC, an inviting target for left-handed sluggers.”

The Bleacher Report notes that “[Morneau] presents the Pirates with an upgrade over Gaby Sanchez at an important offensive position. He will also provide the club with some much-needed support for Andrew McCutchen, who’s often carried the team on his back. Add Morneau along with strong finishes from the likes of Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte, and suddenly the Pirates would be in great shape.”

Do you think the Justin Morneau trade will help the Pittsburgh Pirates reach the MLB postseason for the first time in 21 years?

[image credit: Wknight94]